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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Alum Celina Liv Danielsen Covers the 2019 Oscars Red Carpet

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    There is no evening more exciting than when the Academy Awards are handed out. It’s so important that TV networks from around the world send reporters to cover it. This year that included New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism grad Celina Liv Danielsen. 

    Danielsen was at the Oscars representing Danish network TV2. “One of the more fun Sundays,” she said in an epic understatement. NYFA helped teach her digital production skills. Her fashion sense, however, she likely learned somewhere else.

    Danielsen recently covered the tragic wildfires in California late last year, as well as covering the United Nations for TV2. In September 2018, Danielsen also reported live from the memorial service for the late Senator John McCain.

    Celina Liv Danielsen

    Meanwhile, down in Brazil—where it is summer—NYFA grad Daniella Gemignani did the first of two weeks of coverage leading up to the Catholic feast of Ash Wednesday. It’s better known as CARNIVAL. Daniella reports for Globo TV in São Paulo.

    Broadcast Journalism

    Meanwhile, NYFA alum Paula Menezes is reporting on Brazilian sports. (You know, things like “futbal.”)  A grad of one of our 8-week Broadcast Journalism workshops, she says she is having the time of her life. She even sent along some visual evidence…

    Broadcast Journalism

    So, we started with the Oscars and that’s how we’ll end. I’d like to thank the Academy… the Beijing Film Academy… for lending me their Academy Award when I visited last September. Giving a lecture at this prestigious school was in itself an honor. But to have the opportunity to hold a genuine Oscar is priceless. Of course, I do have an independent feature film coming out later this year…

    Broadcast Journalism
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    February 27, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 426

  • 91st Academy Awards – Oscar Winners Updated Live

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    The New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s nominees for the Academy Award!

    Here is a full list of the 2019 Academy Award nominees, with WINNERS being update live:

    Best Picture
    Black Panther
    BlacKkKlansman
    Bohemian Rhapsody
    The Favourite
    Green Book – WINNER
    Roma
    A Star Is Born
    Vice

    Directing
    BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee
    Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski
    The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos
    Roma, Alfonso Cuarón – WINNER
    Vice, Adam McKay

    Original Screenplay
    The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
    First Reformed, Paul Schrader
    Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly – WINNER
    Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
    Vice, Adam McKay

    Adapted Screenplay
    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
    BlacKKKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee – WINNER
    Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
    If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
    A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters

    Actor in a Leading Role
    Christian Bale, Vice
    Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
    Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
    Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER
    Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

    Actress in a Leading Role
    Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
    Glenn Close, The Wife
    Olivia Colman, The Favourite – WINNER
    Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
    Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

    Actress in a Supporting Role
    Amy Adams, Vice
    Marina de Tavira, Roma
    Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk – WINNER
    Emma Stone, The Favourite
    Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

    Actor in a Supporting Role
    Mahershala Ali, Green Book – WINNER
    Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
    Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
    Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Sam Rockwell, Vice

    Best Documentary Feature
    Free Solo – WINNER
    Hale County This Morning, This Evening
    Minding the Gap
    Of Fathers and Sons
    RBG

    Documentary Short
    Black Sheep
    End Game
    Lifeboat
    A Night at the Garden
    Period. End of Sentence. – WINNER

    Foreign Language Film
    Capernaum, Lebanon
    Cold War, Poland
    Never Look Away, Germany
    Roma, Mexico – WINNER
    Shoplifters, Japan

    Animated Feature
    Incredibles 2
    Isle of Dogs
    Mirai
    Ralph Breaks the Internet
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – WINNER

    Animated Short Film
    Animal Behavior
    Bao – WINNER
    Late Afternoon
    One Small Step
    Weekends

    Live Action Short
    Detainment
    Fauve
    Marguerite
    Mother
    Skin – WINNER

    Original Score
    Black Panther – WINNER
    BlacKkKlansman
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Isle of Dogs
    Mary Poppins Returns

    Original Song
    “All the Stars,” Black Panther
    “I’ll Fight,” RBG
    “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns
    “Shallow,” A Star Is Born – WINNER
    “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    Cinematography
    Cold War, Lukasz Zal
    The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
    Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel
    Roma, Alfonso Cuarón – WINNER
    A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

    Film Editing
    BlacKkKlansman
    Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER
    The Favourite
    Green Book
    Vice

    Production Design
    Black Panther – WINNER
    The Favourite
    First Man
    Mary Poppins Returns
    Roma

    Costume Design
    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
    Black Panther – WINNER
    The Favourite
    Mary Poppins Returns
    Mary Queen of Scots

    Sound Mixing
    Black Panther
    Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER
    First Man
    Roma
    A Star Is Born

    Sound Editing
    Black Panther
    Bohemian Rhapsody – WINNER
    First Man
    A Quiet Place
    Roma

    Makeup and Hairstyle
    Border
    Mary Queen of Scots
    Vice – WINNER

    Visual Effects
    Avengers: Infinity War
    Christopher Robin
    First Man – WINNER
    Ready Player One
    Solo: A Star Wars Story

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    February 24, 2019 • Acting • Views: 2708

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Pablo C. Vergara

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Pablo C. Vergara has shot and is in the process of finishing the feature film metal horror, Necromurder. Vergara hails from Mexico City and works as a cinematographer, actor, and filmmaker, among other roles. 

    He enrolled at the New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking program in New York in Fall 2016, before moving to Hollywood to work on completing his MFA at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. In Los Angeles, he has worked on several projects, including Adverse, starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Thomas Ian Nicholas. 

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    New York Film Academy recently spoke with Vergara about his film and how the NYFA community can support it, as well as about his passions and his ambitious plans for the future of his career and his artistic output:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what brought you to New York Film Academy?

    Pablo C. Vergara (PCV): Hi! My name is Pablo C. Vergara. I was born in Mexico City. I am a musician and a filmmaker and have travelled the world for most my adult life and lived everywhere! This quest for adventure led me to discover the New York Film Academy when in 2016, I was invited to join them in NYC after applying for their consideration. Best decision I’ve made in my entire life!  

    NYFA: Why have you decided to focus on filmmaking? 

    PCV: This is a rather personal question but to narrow it down, I became a father and was struggling in a failing music career where basically I was stuck and being ripped off left and right and was going nowhere. So I decided to make a drastic decision, and that was to change careers and move into film, another of my main passions! I shot many, many music videos and some music documentaries while being a pro musician, so it was just underlying for me. Film it is!

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your film Necromurder?

    PCV: This film is going to be HOT real soon, because a new movie called Lords of Chaos has been released and it’s creating quite an impact. This movie is basically what I based my story upon. Some real crimes committed by some young crazy musicians back in the 90s. I used the same story and added some fiction and biographical elements into it. 

    I wrote, directed, and acted as the lead, so it was quite a challenging thing for me. And yes, I am very, very tired, but also very satisfied with the end result! 

    People can support the film in three ways: first, by buying into our Perks (which will be very rewarding at the end, as we are giving generous perks). Secondly, by sharing on their social media and with their email contacts, family and friends. And lastly, by working with us! This one’s the special one. If you’re in NYFA and want to be part of this project, we will be casting for actors and doing interviews for crew around the fall of this year (subject to change). 

    So just keep in touch, and eventually you’ll hear news about it and you just have to email me your headshot and resume and we’ll go from there! Just keep in mind it’s a heavy metal horror movie! Yes, we have zombies, too, and a scene in Limbo. In conclusion, you could support by doing all of those things, too, which wow, would definitely make you our heroes… for real!

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    NYFA: What inspired you to make Necromurder?

    PCV: Coming from the Metal music background myself and being a musician professionally for 15 years, I got as far as getting a record deal, getting management and offers for full European tours. Two of my favorite movies are The Crow and The Doors, so basically I wanted to pay tribute to these films by making a very music-oriented movie along with strong visuals and cool dialogue and character design. 

    Of course, a horror too, which is my favorite genre and I’ve written four other horror screenplays. Basically, being part of the Metal world and a musician I knew about the story that I mentioned before—The Lords of Chaos—and I wanted to make a film about it. It had been documented and in countless articles and books so I thought, why not make a film about it? 

    But that happened right when Jonas Akerlund got the rights to do the story of the book, so I had to recreate a new story, but still based on those real events. Kind of a fictional biopic of some sorts! Plus, we shot in NYC throughout all four seasons so it’s visually striking!

    NYFA: What are your plans for Necromurder after it’s completed?

    PCV: I haven’t got that far yet, but definitely move it to the festival circuit a bit to see where that takes us and definitely make it a franchise! If you invest in us and this becomes a hit, I can guarantee you we’ll have Necromurder II, III, IV and maybe a Space 3D version too! Why not?!  

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on?

    PCV: When I am through with Necromurder (and it might take a while) I will definitely want to shoot my other screenplays, real cool sci-fi and serial killer stories that I wrote. Those movies would look so cool if ever made. My plan I guess is just to consolidate as a serious filmmaker and keep bringing good quality films and stories into the world! 

    I would love to act more, too. I love acting, but it’s hard when you are on both sides of the camera, so I would welcome acting gigs more! If anyone needs an actor, hey, I’m here!!!

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work?

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    PCV: I learned a lot, especially by having to multitask the way I did. I would definitely never do it that same way ever again. But that being said, it was like a “baptism by fire” and it was purely coincidental since my lead actor dropped out 12 hours prior to rolling cameras and I had to step up and take the role! A friend, trying to calm my nerves, said to me, “Just do it! You wrote it, you know the story better than anyone, and you’re a real musician! Just do it, dude!” 

    And so I did, but it was very hard. I know how I would want to do things differently when a new project arises. That, and having a solid screenplay! Luckily as part of acing the course, I had to have a screenplay approved and it got reviewed by three professionals and drafted to it’s eighth or ninth version! 

    So yes, this story kicks serious ass and it’s real solid! I also learned a lot about all that it entails to produce a film. NYFA has been pivotal in my film career and the pinnacle of it as well! 

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    PCV: Enjoy it! As hard as it gets and as tired as you may get, don’t quit! Trust me, you will regret it in the end, and I’ve seen it happen. If you stay, you will cherish those memories for the rest of your life because we’re fortunate to be part of such a great film institution—the best! 

    NYFA: Anything I missed you’d like to speak on?

    PCV: Just to remind people that even if your budget is tight to buy perks, sharing our link is another way of also helping the project. When big movie studios check us out (and they will!), they’ll want to see numbers! This is test-proven, too… So we need all the “Likes” you can give us! 

    Help us spread the word about Necromurder and it’ll be well worth it! 

    The New York Film Academy thanks Filmmaking alum Pablo C. Vergara for taking the time to speak with us about his film and career! 

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    February 22, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 201

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students Tour the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

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    Vampire bats, West African flying squirrels, pangolins and tigers — oh my! 

    During their field trip to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, New York Film Academy (NYFA) students from this summer’s environmental biology course saw a myriad of species firsthand that most people will never be lucky enough to encounter. 

    Mammal Collections Manager Dr. Jim Dines gave a behind-the-scenes tour for the students and generously introduced them to the world of natural history collections and explained the importance of museum specimens to scientific endeavors.

    Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


    The specimens presented have been collected and preserved over the past century for use in ongoing and future biodiversity research. Students also learned about specimen preparation and the usage of specimens for animation and filmmaking

    The environmental biology course is part of NYFA’s Liberal Arts and Sciences department, where the creative artists pursuing their degrees at NYFA can build a foundation in courses ranging from Arts & Humanities to History of Art, Theatre & Media to the Social and Natural Sciences.

    The New York Film Academy thanks Dr. Jim Dines and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for giving NYFA students an invaluable insight into this amazing resource and the chance to see and feel such remarkable animals!

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    February 20, 2019 • Liberal Arts and Sciences • Views: 451

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Mey Novak

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Mey Novak was always meant to be an actress. She’s always been a huge movie buff, especially action movies, but she’s acted in plays from a young age. 

    Originally hailing from Brazil, Novak first attended New York Film Academy (NYFA) in 2012, taking the 4-week Musical Theatre workshop at NYFA’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre. She followed that with more advanced studies in NYFA’s 1-year Musical Theatre conservatory

    After graduating, Novak worked as an admissions specialist at NYFA’s New York campus, helping fellow aspiring artists from Brazil enroll at the Academy. She’s acted in commercials, short films, and most recently, the feature film River Runs Red.

    River Runs Red is a thriller/drama written and directed by Wes Miller and starring Taye Diggs, John Cusack, George Lopez, Luke Hemsworth, and RJ Mitte. Miller previously directed Prayer Never Fails and Atone, and is completing production of Hell on the Border, starring Ron Perlman and Frank Grillo.

    New York Film Academy recently spoke with Mey Novak about River Runs Red, her passion for acting, and what she learned at NYFA that she still applies to her work to this day:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us what drew you to acting? What brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    Mey Novak (MN): Acting has always been inside me. I was in all the school plays, performing for my family during Christmastime, I always watched movies… it was kind of my happy place growing up. I always knew I wanted to be an actress. I remember being around seven years old watching movies and saying I wanted to do that one day. 

    When I got my theatre degree in Brazil I knew it was time to go to the US to study my craft further, and I saw that the New York Film Academy was auditioning in Brazil and that it was my time.

    Mey Novak Mey Ferdinand

    NYFA: Is there anything about your Brazilian background that you apply to acting in the United States? 

    MN: Yes, I was very versatile because of my Brazilian background. We are a very culturally rich country, so I realized I could play all sorts of foreign roles the industry requires all the time. My first commercial in the US I played a Russian girl. I hadn’t even thought about it before, then I noticed there was a whole thing for foreign accents and types in the US.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about River Runs Red?

    MN:River Runs Red tells the story of an African American judge whose son is murdered by the police. It’s a very strong and currently relevant plot—it’s necessary because it talks about the racism that still exists nowadays in the US, in Brazil, and the whole world.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work on River Runs Red,or your work in general?

    MN: So many things!! NYFA was a stepping stone in my career! 

    First, I have learned with the best teachers—I’ve found mentors for life that even after school was over I had supporting me. I’ve also learned how to be a professional—it was more than just going to class, learn a method, and go home—I learned about the real world of acting and the industry. And I had the chance to practice while I was in school. This is very important. I was in touch with the filmmaking students, I was auditioning, shooting with them, also with the photography students, etc. 

    So when my first big job arrived, I was ready. It was very important. For my acting specifically, I’ve learned my favorite method, the “Meisner technique” at NYFA, it’s necessary to me on set.

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on?

    MN: I’m currently in Brazil shooting a show in Portuguese called Os 3 Irmaos (The 3 Brothers). It’s my first time acting in Portuguese after such a long time working in the US. After this I have plans to work in Europe for a while.

    NYFA: What’s your dream role? 

    MN: I love action movies, I’m obsessed with them!!! I practice martial arts and have studied Stage Combat since my NYFA days, and my dream is definitely a strong female role in an action movie with amazing choreography, like in John Wick.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    MN: I’d say enjoy your time there and listen to every single thing your teacher has to say—they really know about the industry. Be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave, it really pays off!

    NYFA: Anything I missed you’d like to speak on?

    MN: I want to say to all the aspiring actors to follow their dreams! Sounds cliché but there will be doubts, there will be moments you just want to give up, but you just need that one person to believe in you and that one “Yes” that changes everything. Be grateful and embrace every step of the journey!

    The New York Film Academy thanks actress and NYFA alum Mey Novak for taking the time to answer our questions and wishes her the best of luck as her career continues to grow!

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    February 20, 2019 • Acting, Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 619

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Alum Publishes Book After Climbing the Seven Summits

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    As you might imagine, I have written a whole lot of updates since I became Chair of the Broadcast Journalism department at New York Film Academy (NYFA). But, remarkably, this is the first time I can talk about one of our grads writing a book…

    Elizabeth Rose was a member of my first graduating class. After leaving NYFA, she worked for a time with a cruise ship company. She shot/edited/produced a daily news program aboard one of the company’s vessels. 

    But Liz had another goal in mind, something that would take her far away from the tropics. She was determined to climb the Seven Summits —  the tallest mountain of each of the seven continents, including Mount Everest. Without a doubt, she is the only NYFA grad to accomplish this feat. And in doing so, she raised funds for wonderful causes such as Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada).

    I suggested to Liz that she take along a video camera. But given it was a choice between 10 pounds/4.5 kilos of camera or 10 pounds/4.5 kilos of food, the camera was left behind. Now Liz has put her adventures down in writing, in a book called Written in the Snow: My Journey To The Seven Summits. It is an incredible tale.

    Congratulations Liz, from all of us at the New York Film Academy! We’re proud to have played a part the development of your storytelling skills…

    NYFA encourages everyone to find out more about Liz’s incredible achievement by reading Written in the Snow: My Journey To The Seven Summits by NYFA grad Elizabeth Rose!

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    February 19, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 293

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Instructor Bob Eisenhardt Wins Highest Editing Honor

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    The Eddie award is the highest honor American documentary editors can win. Last Friday night, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Department editing instructor Bob Eisenhardt, ACE, won it.

    If you’ve seen Free Solo, you’ll immediately know why. The 2018 film focuses on rock climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to climb El Capitan, the vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, without ropes, or “free solo.” El Capitan is so dangerous, no one has ever tried before, and Honnold is the only person to have ever accomplished the feat. The documentary has been praised for its unparalleled look at such an intense climbing experience.

    Free Solo

    His fellow editors in the American Cinema Editors (ACE) guild voted Eisenhardt’s work on Free Solo, National Geographic’s current Academy Award nominee, Outstanding Editing on a Documentary (Feature). Filmmaker Spike Lee presented him with the Eddie and his Free Solo directors, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, saw to it that he was properly feted.

    Eisenhardt’s NYFA Docs students acknowledge his Jedi master editing skills on pretty much a daily basis, but it’s nice to see the big guns officially shouting him out too.

    This is Eisenhardt’s second Eddie Award. He was previously acknowledged for his Outstanding Editing on HBO’s feature doc, Everything Is Copy. Since the Academy Awards does not present an award for documentary editing, the Eddie is documentary filmmaking’s uncontested top honor. Free Solo is the fourth film Eisenhardt has cut to be nominated for an Academy Award, which also just won the BAFTA. Additionally, Eisenhardt was previously nominated for an Oscar as a director, and has won three Emmys and been nominated for several more. Films he’s cut have been awarded multiple Emmys and nominated several more times. One even earned a Grammy nomination!

    The New York Film Academy congratulates instructor Bob Eisenhardt on his prestigious win at the Eddie Awards and wishes him and the crew of Free Solo the best of luck at this years Academy Awards!

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    February 19, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Faculty Highlights • Views: 521

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screens ‘RBG’ and Holds Q&A with Cinematographer / NYFA Instructor Claudia Raschke

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    On Thursday, February 7, New York Film Academy (NYFA) screened the critically-acclaimed, crowd-pleasing, box office documentary hit, RBG, with the film’s cinematographer and instructor for the NYFA Documentary Filmmaking program, Claudia Raschke participating in a Q&A with students afterwards.

    RBG tells the story of Supreme Court Justice and surprise millennial icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg (aka “The Notorious RBG”). The Flatbush, Brooklyn-born Justice was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1992, becoming only the second woman to serve at the highest federal court in the United States. Ginsberg still serves on the Court and is currently the second-most senior Justice.

    The film was directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen and has been nominated for and won multiple awards since its debut at Sundance. It is currently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; “I’ll Fight” by Diane Warren, from the soundtrack of RBG, is also up for an Oscar for Best Song.

    Director of photography Claudia Raschke has worked on four other films previously nominated for Academy Awards, as well as Peabody, DuPont, and National Board of Review Award winners. Her oeuvre includes acclaimed documentaries as varied as My Architect, about Louis Kahn, Mad Hot Ballroom, which focuses on a New York dance program, and Particle Fever, which tracks the experiments of the Large Hadron Collider that ultimately discovered the Higgs boson (aka the “God particle”).

    RBG

    Students were thrilled to pick Raschke’s brain at a Q&A following the RBG screening. Here’s what some NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students had to say after the event:

    Working with Claudia has been a dream come true in more than one way. Every step you take with the camera in your hand and every little movement you add with the camera while you are shooting should have a thinking behind it. That is the approach with which students like me have had the fortune to learn at New York Film Academy with Claudia. Making every second of the story powerful through visual storytelling is what Claudia is capable of making you learn. She is an inspiring teacher and an even more motivational person! 
    – Kuldeep Sah Gongola (‘18
    )

    There is so much attention to detail in Claudia’s teaching; she prepares you for any situation. When I went to see RBG, I bragged about how Claudia taught us to light interviews and how she kept the lights from reflecting off of the Justice’s glasses. It is easy to see why her work is so esteemed. She gives honest and practical feedback but her compassion for every student and their films is what makes her classes so great.
    – Ti Cersley (’17)

    Having the opportunity to work with renowned professionals in their field one-on-one is priceless! It’s what sets NYFA apart from other great programs around the world.
    – Mark Humphreys (’18)

    Being taught by Claudia is an amazing space to be in. She allows for creativity and ideas to grow in a playful way. Being taught by a female cinematographer who’s worked her way up in a male-dominated industry is very inspirational to watch and learn from.
    – Mollie Moore (’18)

    The New York Film Academy thanks Documentary Filmmaking cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke for speaking with students and congratulates her on all the success RBG has seen so far! 

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    February 18, 2019 • Cinematography, Documentary Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 424

  • Simon Lyndon and Cinzia Coassin hold Q&A at New York Film Academy Australia

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    On Monday, February 11, New York Film Academy Australia (NYFAA) was delighted to welcome AFI Award-winning actor Simon Lyndon, and prominent Australian casting director Cinzia Coassin to our Australian campus.

    Simon Lyndon and Cinzia Coassin pose for a photo with New York Film Academy Australia students.

    Simon gathered acclaim as Jimmy Loughlin in iconic Australian film Chopper with Eric Bana, for which he won an AFI award for Best Supporting Actor and a Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for best supporting actor. He also received AFI nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Blackrock (as Ricko) and Best Actor in a telefeature or mini-series for his role in My Brother Jack.

    Cinzia Coassin and Simon Lyndon answer questions from New York Film Academy Australia students

    Other film and television credits include:

    Fresh AirSample PeopleThe Thin Red LineFrom the Outside Caught InsideFalling into Paradise, The Glenmore Job, The Well Dust off the Wings, Beaconsfield, a younger Jack Thompson in Paper Giants – The Birth of Cleo Magazine, Larry Knight, Spirited on Foxtel with Claudia Karvan, playing The KingPuberty Blues as a surfing teacher Gumby, Police RescueHeartbreak HighWildsideUnderbelly Canal Road and FOX network show Roar together with fellow Australian and Blackrock co-star Heath Ledger.

    Simon is also a sought-after theatre actor and director.

    Cinzia Coassin started her career as a theatre/film and television actor, and has since expanded her reach in the entertainment industry. Located on Queensland’s Gold Coast, she is one of the preeminent Casting Directors NYFAA students will see 

    Cinzia is currently Casting Director on Australian feature films Unsound, a feature film supporting disability and diversity, sci-fi film Occupation, and Darkman.  A seasoned Casting Associate and industry professional, Cinzia has been involved in the casting process for The Moon and the Sun, The Dressmaker, and Camp for the NBC Network, along with CBS pilot season 2014, The Code and Hiding for the ABC Network.  She was also involved with the Australian search for the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Hercules, The Shannara Chronicles,The Badlands and BIG VALLEY -The BFG.  Additional casting project involvement includes The Strip and Blood Brothers for the 9 Network Australia, Spartacus, Legend of the Seeker, and K9 (children series), 33 Postcards, The King is Dead, Satellite Boy and 4 seasons of ABC US pilot season.  

    A creator of work, Cinzia is creative producer and collaborator on Holy Moselle, a feature film written by  Michelle Coassin and has produced a short film festival – Ten to One – giving platform to writers/producers/directors to showcase their stories/films.

    Cinzia Coassin answers questions from students at New York Film Academy Australia

    NYFA students were curious about Simon’s experience on Chopper, and Simon shared personal anecdotes; his experience of sleeping in a cell where a stabbing took place, and stories of Chopper showing off his shooting skills by having a friend hold a target.  

    He was generous in sharing his thoughts on acting techniques – method and physical techniques. 

    Students were treated to a viewing of Simon’s impressive showreel before Simon and Cinzia took questions from our acting students.

    Of particular interest was Cinzia and Simon’s initiatives in creating work: Simon in theatre and Cinzia in producing a short film festival.  In answer to student questions – what to do after graduating, Simon encouraged students to “make your own work!  If you’re not getting cast, make a short film and cast yourself!”.  

    As Chair of Acting NYFAA, it is wonderful to see our ethos of Learning by Doing, so enthusiastically endorsed by our industry leaders.  We all expressed our gratitude and appreciation to Simon and Cinzia, before taking advantage of photo opportunities.  Some students were even treated to a moment of individual consultation.   

    Thank you Simon and Cinzia, we hope to welcome you back again soon!

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    February 18, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 407

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Jessica Wolfson Produces and Directs ‘The Columnists’ for WSJ. Magazine

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Jessica Wolfson produced and directed The Columnists for WSJ. Magazine, a video series of intimate conversations with renowned figures reflecting on various themes that have guided their careers.

    The project has its roots in On Point, a coffee table book from WSJ. Magazine, a glossy news and lifestyle monthly magazine by the publishers of The Wall Street Journal. The book, released September of last year, included interviews from the publication’s renowned column The Columnists. The new series has six parts and a 20-minute short film, directed and produced by Wolfson.

    Jessica Wolfson The Columnists

    This is the second project Wolfson has made for The Wall Street Journal. Her earlier project was Drawing the Future, a video tech series. Wolfson is a photographer and documentary filmmaker who has directed shorts including Night People, Iowa Mixtape, and Play a Round with Me, as well as films Radio Unnameable and Hot Grease. Additionally, she teaches for the Documentary Filmmaking department at New York Film Academy’s New York City campus.

    Episodes of The Columnists are based on a particular theme, including Luck, Risk, Mistakes, and Willpower. Notable subjects speaking on these topics include, author Fran Lebowitz, director Lee Daniels, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, television star Rainn Wilson, and the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.

    “What I really loved most about making this series was having conversations with the subjects about emotional and philosophical topics such as willpower, advice, envy—rather than the typical career questions they are normally asked,” Wolfson tells NYFA. “This made for a very interesting dialogue.”

    Wolfson also worked with Associate Producer and graduate of NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking program Nancy Dionne. Dionne researched crew and shooting locations in Canada, Paris, London, and New York for the series. “It was the kind of call where you hang up and jump up and down smiling saying, ‘Yes!’” Dionne tells NYFA. She was also more than happy to work with Wolfson, who she met at NYFA. 

    “I don’t think I had ever been so excited to see her in action,” Dionne says of Wolfson. “What struck me first was how calm Jessica and her crew were, not that they were not feeling stress, but how they handled it and how they communicated with me and each other—just so professional and smart with no effort wasted.”

    Jessica Wolfson The Columnists
    Photo Credit: WSJ Magazine

    Currently, The Columnists is a limited series, but Wolfson is eager to shoot additional seasons in the future.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking instructor Jessica Wolfson and alum Nancy Dionne on The Columnists, and thanks them for taking the time to speak to NYFA about their experience!

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